WASHINGTON—Leaders of five national Catholic organizations, including two committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), urged the Farm Bill Conference Committee to negotiate a Farm Bill that “reflects a commitment to the common good.”
“Agriculture policies must adequately respond to the needs of the most vulnerable and hungry people, and farmers and families at home and abroad,” wrote Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace; Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA; Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services; James F. Ennis, executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference; and Sheila K. Gilbert, president of the National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
The appeal came in a November 1 letter addressed to Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), chairwoman and ranking member, respectively of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Representatives Frank Lucas (R-Oklahoma) and Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota), chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Agriculture Committee. The letter was distributed to the Farm Bill Conference Committee.
The letters cited Pope Francis’ message for World Food Day, in which the pope said, “It is a scandal that there is still hunger and malnutrition in the world,” and called for “a just and lasting solution.”
The leaders urged Congress to focus on five priorities: domestic hunger and nutrition, international food security and development, rural development, conservation and subsidies.